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A. H. Belo Corporation Announces First Quarter 2021 Financial Results

DALLAS, April 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC) today reported a first quarter 2021 net loss of $2.8 million, or $(0.13) per share, and an operating loss of $3.7 million. In the first quarter of 2020, the Company reported a net loss of $1.6 million, or $(0.08) per share, and an operating loss of $4.8 million. The 2020 net loss included a federal tax refund of $2.3 million permitted under the CARES Act.

For the first quarter of 2021, on a non-GAAP basis, A. H. Belo reported an operating loss adjusted for certain items (“adjusted operating loss”) of $2.4 million, an improvement of $0.4 million or 14.4 percent when compared to an adjusted operating loss of $2.8 million reported in the first quarter of 2020.

Robert W. Decherd, chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are encouraged that operating conditions have settled to some extent during the first part of 2021. However, it is obviously important to remain focused on revenue generation across all platforms while shaping the Company’s expense structure to reflect the smaller enterprise A. H. Belo has become. On April 15 we announced a voluntary severance offer (“VSO”) for eligible employees in select departments, which is an important step in this process. The VSO should help accelerate the realignment of administrative, back office and production activities, and result in meaningful ongoing savings.

The Dallas Morning News continues to provide superior, unduplicated local and regional news, information and commentary. The impact is seen in The News’ growth in digital memberships and the relative stability of its print member base. The Board’s commitment to investing in this growth is the best pathway to becoming a sustainably profitable digital newspaper enterprise.”

First Quarter Results

Total revenue was $36.8 million in the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of $3.5 million or 8.7 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Revenue from advertising and marketing services, including print and digital revenues, was $16.8 million in the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of $2.6 million or 13.2 percent when compared to the $19.3 million reported for the first quarter of 2020. The decline is primarily due to a $1.6 million reduction in print advertising revenue, which has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Circulation revenue was $16.0 million, a decrease of $0.4 million or 2.4 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2020. Home delivery revenue decreased 4.3 percent and single copy revenue decreased 27.1 percent, primarily due to the significantly reduced number of locations selling newspapers as a result of the pandemic, partially offset by an increase of $0.6 million or 46.5 percent in digital-only subscription revenue.

Printing, distribution and other revenue decreased $0.6 million, or 12.6 percent, to $4.0 million, primarily due to reductions in commercial printing and distribution revenue.

Total consolidated operating expense in the first quarter of 2021, on a GAAP basis, was $40.5 million, an improvement of $4.6 million or 10.2 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020. The improvement is primarily due to expense decreases of $1.1 million in employee compensation and benefits, $0.9 million in newsprint, ink and other supplies, $0.9 million in outside services, $0.7 million in depreciation, $0.4 million in distribution, and $0.3 million in travel and entertainment.

In the first quarter of 2021, on a non-GAAP basis, adjusted operating expense was $45.3 million, an increase of $0.8 million or 1.7 percent when compared to $44.6 million of adjusted operating expense in the first quarter of 2020. The increase is primarily due to an increase of $4.7 million in contra expense, partially offset by expense decreases in employee compensation and benefits, newsprint, distribution, and reductions from continued management of discretionary spending.

As of March 31, 2021, the Company had 713 employees, a decrease of 75 or 9.5 percent when compared to the prior year period. Cash and cash equivalents were $38.1 million and the Company had no debt.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Reconciliations of operating loss to adjusted operating loss, total net operating revenue to adjusted operating revenue, and total operating costs and expense to adjusted operating expense are included in the exhibits to this release.

Financial Results Conference Call

A. H. Belo Corporation will conduct a conference call on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. CDT to discuss financial results. The conference call will be available via webcast by accessing the Company’s website at An archive of the webcast will be available at in the Investor Relations section.

To access the listen-only conference call, dial 1-877-226-8189 and enter the following access code when prompted: 5840199. A replay line will be available at 1-866-207-1041 from 12:00 p.m. CDT on April 27, 2021 until 11:59 p.m. CDT on May 3, 2021. The access code for the replay is 8305657.

About A. H. Belo Corporation

A. H. Belo Corporation is the leading local news and information publishing company in Texas. The Company has a growing presence in emerging media and digital marketing, and maintains capabilities related to commercial printing, distribution and direct mail. A. H. Belo delivers news and information in innovative ways to a broad range of audiences with diverse interests and lifestyles. For additional information, visit or email

Statements in this communication concerning A. H. Belo Corporation’s business outlook or future economic performance, revenues, expenses, and other financial and non-financial items that are not historical facts, including statements of the Company’s expectations relating to its plans to regain NYSE compliance, are “forward-looking statements” as the term is defined under applicable federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those statements. Such risks, trends and uncertainties are, in most instances, beyond the Company’s control, and include changes in advertising demand and other economic conditions; consumers’ tastes; newsprint prices; program costs; labor relations; cybersecurity incidents; technological obsolescence; and the current and future impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Among other risks, there can be no guarantee that the board of directors will approve a quarterly dividend in future quarters; as well as other risks described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the Company’s other public disclosures and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements, which are as of the date of this filing, are not updated to reflect events or circumstances after the date of the statement.

A. H. Belo Corporation and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Operations

    Three Months Ended March 31,
In thousands, except share and per share amounts (unaudited)   2021     2020  
Net Operating Revenue:            
Advertising and marketing services   $ 16,769     $ 19,327  
Circulation     16,022       16,414  
Printing, distribution and other     4,024       4,602  
Total net operating revenue     36,815       40,343  
Operating Costs and Expense:            
Employee compensation and benefits     17,947       19,016  
Other production, distribution and operating costs     19,090       20,992  
Newsprint, ink and other supplies     2,341       3,271  
Depreciation     1,074       1,765  
Amortization     64       64  
Gain on sale/disposal of assets, net     (1 )     (5 )
Total operating costs and expense     40,515       45,103  
Operating loss     (3,700 )     (4,760 )
Other income, net     1,254       1,352  
Loss Before Income Taxes     (2,446 )     (3,408 )
Income tax provision (benefit)     319       (1,787 )
Net Loss   $ (2,765 )   $ (1,621 )
Per Share Basis            
Net loss            
Basic and diluted   $ (0.13 )   $ (0.08 )
Number of common shares used in the per share calculation:            
Basic and diluted     21,410,423       21,410,423  

A. H. Belo Corporation and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets

    March 31,   December 31,
In thousands (unaudited)   2021   2020
Current assets:            
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 38,132   $ 42,015
Accounts receivable, net     15,503     16,562
Notes receivable     22,775     22,775
Other current assets     8,678     6,754
Total current assets     85,088     88,106
Property, plant and equipment, net     10,932     11,959
Operating lease right-of-use assets     19,764     20,406
Intangible assets, net         64
Deferred income taxes, net     91     76
Other assets     2,213     2,604
Total assets   $ 118,088   $ 123,215
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity            
Current liabilities:            
Accounts payable   $ 7,381   $ 7,759
Accrued compensation and other current liabilities     10,524     10,829
Contract liabilities     13,760     12,896
Total current liabilities     31,665     31,484
Long-term pension liabilities     17,119     18,520
Long-term operating lease liabilities     21,216     21,890
Other liabilities     4,941     4,913
Total liabilities     74,941     76,807
Total shareholders' equity     43,147     46,408
   Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity   $ 118,088   $ 123,215

A. H. Belo Corporation - Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Reconciliation of Operating Loss to Adjusted Operating Loss

    Three Months Ended March 31,
In thousands (unaudited)   2021     2020  
Total net operating revenue   $ 36,815     $ 40,343  
Total operating costs and expense     40,515       45,103  
Operating Loss   $ (3,700 )   $ (4,760 )
Total net operating revenue   $ 36,815     $ 40,343  
Advertising contra revenue     6,078       1,454  
Circulation contra revenue     95       38  
Adjusted Operating Revenue   $ 42,988     $ 41,835  
Total operating costs and expense   $ 40,515     $ 45,103  
Advertising contra expense     6,078       1,454  
Circulation contra expense     95       38  
Depreciation     1,074       1,765  
Amortization     64       64  
Severance expense     208       186  
Gain on sale/disposal of assets, net     (1 )     (5 )
Adjusted Operating Expense   $ 45,343     $ 44,585  
Adjusted operating revenue   $ 42,988     $ 41,835  
Adjusted operating expense     45,343       44,585  
Adjusted Operating Loss   $ (2,355 )   $ (2,750 )

The Company calculates adjusted operating income (loss) by adjusting operating income (loss) to exclude depreciation, amortization, severance expense, (gain) loss on sale/disposal of assets, and asset impairments (“adjusted operating income (loss)”). The Company believes that inclusion of certain noncash expenses and other items in the results makes for more difficult comparisons between years and with peer group companies.

The Company adopted the new revenue guidance (Topic 606) using the modified retrospective approach as of January 1, 2018. While the Company adjusts operating revenue and expense for non-GAAP presentation, these adjustments have no effect on adjusted operating income (loss).

Adjusted operating income (loss) is not a measure of financial performance under generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). Management uses adjusted operating income (loss) and similar measures in internal analyses as supplemental measures of the Company’s financial performance, and for performance comparisons versus its peer group of companies. Management uses this non-GAAP financial measure for the purposes of evaluating consolidated Company performance. The Company therefore believes that the non-GAAP measure presented provides useful information to investors by allowing them to view the Company’s business through the eyes of management and the Board of Directors, facilitating comparison of results across historical periods and providing a focus on the underlying ongoing operating performance of its business. Adjusted operating income (loss) should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for net income (loss), cash flows provided by (used for) operating activities or other comparable measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. Additionally, this non-GAAP measure may not be comparable to similarly-titled measures of other companies.

Katy Murray

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